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End of Conditional Permanent Residence – Spouses and Partners

The conditional permanent residence provision for sponsored spouses and partners came into effect in October 2012 under the Conservative government to deter marriage fraud.

Conditional Permanent Residence Status

On April 28, 2017, the Government of Canada announced that it abolished a condition for permanent residence that required some sponsored spouses and partners to remain in a relationship with their sponsors for a period of at least two (2) years. Spouses and common-law partners sponsored to immigrate to Canada will no longer experience a period of conditional permanent resident status. Instead, they will have full permanent resident status upon landing.

The Liberal government was addressing concerns that vulnerable sponsored spouses or partners may stay in abusive relationships because they are afraid of losing their permanent resident status, even though an exception to the condition existed for those types of situations. Abuse may be physical, sexual, psychological, and/or financial.

Marriage Fraud

The Conservative government put in place the conditional permanent residence requirement to prevent marriage of convenience cases.

While Ottawa admits that “cases of marriage fraud may exist, most of relationships are genuine and most spousal sponsorship applications are made in good faith,” adding that “eliminating conditional permanent residence upholds the Government’s commitment to family reunification and supports gender equality and combating gender violence.”

Forward Regulatory Plan

In its Forward Regulatory Plan released in October 2016, IRCC stated that “The safety and well-being of all residents of Canada is paramount, and by eliminating this provision, the government will allow more newcomers to settle and integrate, knowing that Canada is their long-term home. Overall, it helps to build a stronger society for all.”

This newly enacted change in spousal sponsorship is undoubtedly a right step on the government’s part towards recognizing the realities of marriage and other committed relationships.

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